Friday, January 27, 2012

Burnt Muffins

Sometimes when you try to make something good, it turns out less than spectacular.  The plan seemed relatively foolproof, but the result...well, not so much.  I made cranberry orange muffins.  Kind of a no-brainer, right?  It's not like I was trying to make French macarons and was worried about perfect 'feet.'  Flour, sugar, milk, and cranberries.  But in my attempt to not poke my head in the oven every 5 minutes to check (a bad habit of mine), I let them go a little too long.  I thought, 'oh well, the tops are a little over done, no big deal.'  Then I flipped them out of the muffin pan.  When your baking cups (you know, the cute blue ones with the little green flowers) are a little on the burnt side, you know it won't be pretty.  Peeling the baking paper off the muffin was another experience, as most of the cake was sticking to the paper.  They tasted good, if a tiny bit crunchy around the edges.  The centers were perfect.  It was a bit like searching for treasure.

So, there I was....with a dozen well-done muffins in front of me.  I hated the idea of throwing it all away.  I peeled the paper off another muffin, thinking maybe it was a one-off deal.  No.  I waited until they cooled completely.  Granted, less of the muffin stuck to the paper, but still it wasn't looking good.  Then....two words came to mind:  Bread Pudding.  Easy to put together, and more importantly--it saved my less-than-spectacular cranberry muffins.  The bread pudding went to work with me the next day, where it got the thumbs-up.

Lessons learned:

1. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  More accurately, when you burn the cranberry muffins, make bread pudding.

2.  Celebrate the failures in the kitchen, it's not all that bad.  Clean it up and move forward.  [Note to self--apply that mantra to your daily life.]

3.  Go out and buy an oven thermometer.  (Purchased one that night and have since discovered that my oven runs about 25 degrees hotter than selected temperature.  Something I've suspected for awhile.)

Cranberry Muffin Bread Pudding
(Adapted from The Caramel Cookie)

8-10 well-done cranberry muffins (cut into cubes)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  (I used a 4-quart Pyrex dish.)  In a bowl, combine milk, egg, extract, and sugar.  Whisk until well-mixed.  Add muffins and stir to coat.  Let sit for about 20 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed into the muffins.  Put into baking dish. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and bake for about 45 minutes.  

Not bad from a distance.

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